In recent weeks, pro-life advocates have released a series of disturbing and controversial videos that expose the reality of abortion. Even today, the activist group “The Center for Medical Progress” released yet another clip, showing fetal tissue vendors talk about their business relationships with Planned Parenthood and the graphic details of abortion.
The Planned Parenthood undercover videos have drawn both criticism and praise, and have forced many to re-examine the issue. But, though abortion-focused videos bring light to an important issue—one that Christians should speak out against—being pro-life is much bigger than being anti-abortion.
Today, thousands of people die because of preventable diseases, hunger, circumstances perpetuated by extreme poverty, environmental factors, violence, unsafe working conditions and other ways that represent causes Christians should stand against.
Here’s a look at five of the modern-day pro-life issues currently making headlines that aren’t abortion.
Today, there are more than 20 million slaves around the world. Many of them have been trafficked by human traders who lured them with promises of jobs. Many are children made to work long hours in dangerous conditions. Many are held against their will as sex slaves, forced into prostitution. Many have been deceived into taking on “debts” that they are then forced to pay by working in unending cycles of bonded labor agreements. Freed slaves tell horror stories of inhumane conditions on boats, farms and factories where many die and others are beaten, injured and given barely enough food or water to live.
How You Can Help: Organizations like International Justice Mission, AntiSlavery.org, the End It Movement and Free the Slaves all offer ways you can get involved through financial support and political action to end modern-day slavery.
The European Migrant Crisis
This year alone, more than 2,500 people have died attempting to flee violence in North Africa, the Middle East and the Syrian Civil War on their way to safety in Europe. Last week, the bodies of 71 migrants—four of whom were children—turned up in the back of a truck, abandoned on the side of a highway in Hungary. Many of those attempting to flee fall victim to human traffickers who load refugees into dangerous boats and trucks, resulting in thousands of deaths and at-sea rescues. Thousands are fleeing violence and desperate refugee camps with no place to go.
How You Can Help: While leaders from the EU plan to meet later this month and discuss the crisis, for now, there remain few easy political solutions. However, there are humanitarian organizations assisting those in need. Save the Children, the Migrant Offshore Aid Station and World Vision are among the organizations offering relief to Syrian refugees and migrants attempting to flee to Europe.
The Death Penalty
Though more and more states have banned capital punishment, the United States is still among the leading countries in the world when it comes to state-sponsored executions and death sentences. Increasing concerns about the drugs used in lethal injections have brought the issue back into the national spotlight following several botched executions, though the practice still remains legal. Also concerning is the record number of exonerations of inmates who were wrongfully convicted—some of whom were on death row.
How You Can Help: The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty offers resources on how to make your voice known politically, and groups like the Innocence Project are in constant need of support as they provide legal assistance to inmates wrongfully convicted of committing crimes.
The Rise of ISIS
The dramatic rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria is devastating communities throughout the region, as terrorist militants target almost anyone who opposes their radical brand of Islamic ideology. Millions of Christians, Muslims and minority groups have been displaced as ISIS has taken over large swaths of the countries by force, killing hundreds of thousands in their wake. And the radical group Boko Haram in northern Nigeria—known for their campaigns of suicide bombings, mass abductions, rapes, murders and village raids—has pledged allegiance to the increasingly powerful Islamic group. The rise of ISIS has compounded the violence of Syria Civil war creating a massive refugee crisis, where children lack educational resources and, in many cases, families’ basic needs are not being met.
How You Can Help: There is no simple solution to the ISIS crisis, but there are things Christians concerned about the sanctity of life can do: As Defying ISIS author Johnnie Moore points out in his latest piece for RELEVANT, Christians have the responsibility to pray for the victims of violence and raise awareness about the severity of the problem. We can also support organizations that are on the ground, providing life-saving services to people and communities in the region like The Preemptive Love Coalition. World Vision also has programs that serve the needs of refugees who have fled the violence.
According to the World Health Organization, preventable diseases spread because of a lack of access to clean water kill more people than war. And, as charity:water notes, of the 30,000 people who die every single week from drinking unclean water and not having access to hygienic conditions, 90 percent are young children.
In an era when so many Christians have access to wealth and resources, this a major problem. Providing clean water to people in need not only saves thousands of lives by helping eliminate water-borne illnesses, it also helps communities economically by freeing up resources and time.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.